You’ve made the decision to be a trucker, now you’re saying ‘what’s next?’ The next step after you’ve decided to venture into this career is choosing where to get your CDL. Just like any major, life-changing decisions there are many factors that go into choosing what CDL school works best for you. Things to consider would be financial responsibility, duration, and community. We are breaking down differences, similarities and important factors to help you make the right first step for your new career.
Paid CDL training is also known as company-sponsored training. This is when a company pays the upfront cost of your training. Normally companies will cover both your transportation to the training facility and hotel accommodations while in training. In some cases there are companies who pay for the cost of meals and even loan you money to pay your bills while you are taking their course.
In return for the paid training the company sponsoring you will require you to drive for them for an agreed upon period of time, or until your tuition is paid off. Not every paid CDL training is identical, so it is important to do extensive research.
Private CDL trainings are with independently owned truck driving schools. Typically there is a requirement to pay tuition upfront. This structure is ideal for those with families who wish to be closer, as they will commute back and forth. Being that this more of a risk than company-sponsored training, prospective students will want to get as many pre-hire letters as possible and ensure that the companies they’re interested in hire from the chosen institution.
Tip: If choosing either option you are looking at “paying back” or paying upfront $4,000 to $10,000. We suggest you go with the best value, not just the lowest price.
The amount of time you’ll have to dedicate to your CDL isn’t a matter of paid versus private. The duration is contingent on your choice of license class, desired endorsements, whether you’re a full-time or part-time student, and class and driving hours.
The requirements of each state are also different, so we’ll take the word of most CDL instructors who say your training will take anywhere from 3 to 8 weeks.
Obtaining your CDL in the best environment for your learning habits is vital to how well you succeed. Knowing the student to instructor ratio is also important. If you are the kind of person who thrives on 1-on-1 interaction, choosing a school with a 40-to-1 ratio isn’t going to cut it. This is your career, so your success in the field is based on your success in the classroom.
For students going the company-sponsored route, the community makes all the difference. How a company trains its prospective employees is a reflection on how they treat their actual employees, so be super aware of this.